How to get German Citizenship and retain (dual) US Citizenship

410 posts in this topic

On 1/29/2019, 10:32:13, germericanteacher said:

 

I would also be happy to talk to a (obviously even paid) lawyer. Any resources?


Thanks in advance :)

 

 

 

I went to several lawyers all of whom theoretically specialized in this subject and found all of them unmotivated and generally useless. They each charged me for the visit, and most sent me away telling me that in my case  I would not be successful.

 

The rule is not that you have to earn less than a fixed amount, or that you have debt. The rule is you must demonstrate severe financial and/or personal hardship were you to lose your USA citizenship. The "easy" way is if you don't earn much, only because the USA will charge you two months pay to renounce your citizenship. I earn well over that limit.

 

I don't wish to relate what my specific personal and/or financial hardships are, however, I was able to convince the person reviewing my case and I was successful. It took over 18 months and a bit of money having all kinds of documents translated, but it worked. Whatever your specific "hardships" are, must be documented. You probably have family in the USA or assets there. Look at the laws regarding Germans in the USA regarding taxation, length of stay in the USA, Work availability, inheritances, and Social Security treatment and that will give you a start on how to build your case. 

 

There are other exemptions for people whose parents or grandparents were forced out of Germany or lost their citizenship due to the Nazi Regime in the 1930's and 1940's. There is an exemption if you can get a letter from a German politician on your behalf. There are other exemptions which I cannot think of offhand - but surprisingly - the attorneys did not even know of some of the exemptions which I just listed- even though I specifically visited for their expertise! (hey, everyone cough up some €€€   my fee :-)  )

 

I would love to visit each of those attorneys once again and wave my Ausweis and then ask for a refund...but they would likely charge me for even that visit.

 

Good luck...

 

 

 

 

 

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On 1/30/2019, 1:08:01, Jack Schitte said:

 

 

I went to several lawyers all of whom theoretically specialized in this subject and found all of them unmotivated and generally useless. They each charged me for the visit, and most sent me away telling me that in my case  I would not be successful.

 

The rule is not that you have to earn less than a fixed amount, or that you have debt. The rule is you must demonstrate severe financial and/or personal hardship were you to lose your USA citizenship. The "easy" way is if you don't earn much, only because the USA will charge you two months pay to renounce your citizenship. I earn well over that limit.

 

I don't wish to relate what my specific personal and/or financial hardships are, however, I was able to convince the person reviewing my case and I was successful. It took over 18 months and a bit of money having all kinds of documents translated, but it worked. Whatever your specific "hardships" are, must be documented. You probably have family in the USA or assets there. Look at the laws regarding Germans in the USA regarding taxation, length of stay in the USA, Work availability, inheritances, and Social Security treatment and that will give you a start on how to build your case. 

 

There are other exemptions for people whose parents or grandparents were forced out of Germany or lost their citizenship due to the Nazi Regime in the 1930's and 1940's. There is an exemption if you can get a letter from a German politician on your behalf. There are other exemptions which I cannot think of offhand - but surprisingly - the attorneys did not even know of some of the exemptions which I just listed- even though I specifically visited for their expertise! (hey, everyone cough up some €€€   my fee :-)  )

 

I would love to visit each of those attorneys once again and wave my Ausweis and then ask for a refund...but they would likely charge me for even that visit.

 

Good luck...

 

 

 

 

 

 

I know you mentioned you don’t want to share your situation but it would be vastly helpful to people in this thread with no chance at getting a hardship exception based on income. I haven’t actually ever come across someone online that managed to naturalize while keeping US citizenship without going this route. If you’ve actually found a way, we’d be eternally grateful to you for sharing how exactly.

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There are definitely other ways, but they seem to be harder and more case-by-case. It looks like it is removed now, but one that comes to mind is in the presentation that used to be here https://www.expath.de/getting-german-citizenship/ (looks like it is removed now), the person who ran the seminar explained that she kept US citizenship while obtaining German because she was considering starting a branch of Expath in the US. It took longer to process than normal (18 months), but eventually went through. It is unclear if business interests in the US are enough (and if so how those need to be demonstrated) or if it needs to be something beneficial to Germany specifically as it was in this case.

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18 hours ago, Ben21 said:

 

I know you mentioned you don’t want to share your situation but it would be vastly helpful to people in this thread with no chance at getting a hardship exception based on income. I haven’t actually ever come across someone online that managed to naturalize while keeping US citizenship without going this route. If you’ve actually found a way, we’d be eternally grateful to you for sharing how exactly.

 

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I’d really like to be specific but I don’t want to share my personal hardships with the world. I am even logged in with an alias as I’m not sure I want everyone to know. I posted initially as there is quite a bit of misinformation here which I wanted to correct. (My Name isn’t really Jack Shit)

 

Some tips:

 

Financial or personal hardship is the rule. The rule is not earning too little or how much debt you have. The decision of whether your personal hardship is severe enough to warrant dual citizenship is up to the presidium in your district. I do suggest making your argument in German, and then have a German correct any grammar errors.

 

Let’s say you are now German because you gave up your USA citizenship. What could that do to hurt you?

 

There are visitation limits to the USA for Germans. You might have imperative reasons to visit and the USA can stop you. I’m reluctant to air my laundry here but I have a number of them. Use your own.

 

You might have a job that requires USA citizenship. You could lose your job.

 

Social Security, which you have paid into for a long time has different rules for non-citizens 

 

IRA’s and Inheritances are treated differently as a German, as are investments.

 

Maybe you are the only person who can care fore an elderly or sick relative?

 

You will need to prove the circumstances which you use as your reasons.

 

You should also combine this with reasons you need to be German..

 

Just a reminder - I was denied dual citizenship but filed an appeal which I later won. 

 

I hope I helped you all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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20 hours ago, Jack Schitte said:

I hope I helped you all.

 

Thanks a bunch for the tips! It may definitely be worth a try.

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On 9.2.2019, 16:27:53, Jack Schitte said:

Social Security, which you have paid into for a long time has different rules for non-citizens 

 

IRA’s and Inheritances are treated differently as a German, as are investments.

 

 

I was surprised to see these comments.  Can anyone describe further what differences there are for U.S. citizens versus non-citizens with regard to:

(1) Social Security payouts

(2) IRA payouts

 

thanks in advance.

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Good questions, I have no answers. I have a further question related to social security payout: apparently your social security payout is based on your last 10 years of work. Does this mean the last 10 years of work in America, before moving to Germany, or last 10 years of work in the later in life home, Germany? 

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On 2/9/2019, 4:27:53, Jack Schitte said:

...

You will need to prove the circumstances which you use as your reasons.

You should also combine this with reasons you need to be German..

Just a reminder - I was denied dual citizenship but filed an appeal which I later won.

...

 

Hello,

 

Super helpful advice, thank you very much.

 

2 quick questions, in the hope that you still come by here every so often, and are inclined to answer:

 

  1. Given your initial experience with multiple lawyers, did you end up putting your "case" together by yourself, without a lawyer, and just showed up with it at the assigned date of the Antragsabgabe? And same for the appeal, did you appeal going in solo without a lawyer?
     
  2. I have only ever seen mention of the German view of things, i.e. strategies of how to get Germany to accept an American's request for dual citizenship. But what about the US side, does one not need to get US approval as well to additionally obtain German citizenship, and if so, is that a whole separate ordeal? Or is the US side not involved at all?

 

(Question 2 could be answered by anyone, I suppose)

 

Thank you again, I've been struggling with this topic for quite a while.

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, secondpeng said:

I have only ever seen mention of the German view of things, i.e. strategies of how to get Germany to accept an American's request for dual citizenship. But what about the US side, does one not need to get US approval as well to additionally obtain German citizenship, and if so, is that a whole separate ordeal? Or is the US side not involved at all?

 

Definitely do not have to worry about the States approval. No involvement whatsoever on their end, at least as of current! Only involvement necessary would be beneficial to get in touch with the embassy and ask them to send you an official statement on government letterhead stating how much it will cost to officially renounce your citizenship (to prove to the Ausländerbehörde that it would indeed cost that much going down the road of financial hardship.)

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10 hours ago, secondpeng said:

 

Hello,

 

Super helpful advice, thank you very much.

 

2 quick questions, in the hope that you still come by here every so often, and are inclined to answer:

 

  1. Given your initial experience with multiple lawyers, did you end up putting your "case" together by yourself, without a lawyer, and just showed up with it at the assigned date of the Antragsabgabe? And same for the appeal, did you appeal going in solo without a lawyer?
     
  2. I have only ever seen mention of the German view of things, i.e. strategies of how to get Germany to accept an American's request for dual citizenship. But what about the US side, does one not need to get US approval as well to additionally obtain German citizenship, and if so, is that a whole separate ordeal? Or is the US side not involved at all?

 

(Question 2 could be answered by anyone, I suppose)

 

Thank you again, I've been struggling with this topic for quite a while.

 

 

 

 

On 1/29/2019, 10:32:13, germericanteacher said:

 

I would also be happy to talk to a (obviously even paid) lawyer. Any resources?


Thanks in advance :)

 

 

 

I went to several lawyers all of whom theoretically specialized in this subject and found all of them unmotivated and generally useless. They each charged me for the visit, and most sent me away telling me that in my case  I would not be successful.

 

The rule is not that you have to earn less than a fixed amount, or that you have debt. The rule is you must demonstrate severe financial and/or personal hardship were you to lose your USA citizenship. The "easy" way is if you don't earn much, only because the USA will charge you two months pay to renounce your citizenship. I earn well over that limit.

 

I don't wish to relate what my specific personal and/or financial hardships are, however, I was able to convince the person reviewing my case and I was successful. It took over 18 months and a bit of money having all kinds of documents translated, but it worked. Whatever your specific "hardships" are, must be documented. You probably have family in the USA or assets there. Look at the laws regarding Germans in the USA regarding taxation, length of stay in the USA, Work availability, inheritances, and Social Security treatment and that will give you a start on how to build your case. 

 

There are other exemptions for people whose parents or grandparents were forced out of Germany or lost their citizenship due to the Nazi Regime in the 1930's and 1940's. There is an exemption if you can get a letter from a German politician on your behalf. There are other exemptions which I cannot think of offhand - but surprisingly - the attorneys did not even know of some of the exemptions which I just listed- even though I specifically visited for their expertise! (hey, everyone cough up some €€€   my fee :-)  )

 

I would love to visit each of those attorneys once again and wave my Ausweis and then ask for a refund...but they would likely charge me for even that visit.

 

Good luck...

 

 

 

 

 

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Quote

 

Hello,

 

Super helpful advice, thank you very much.

 

2 quick questions, in the hope that you still come by here every so often, and are inclined to answer:

 

  1. Given your initial experience with multiple lawyers, did you end up putting your "case" together by yourself, without a lawyer, and just showed up with it at the assigned date of the Antragsabgabe? And same for the appeal, did you appeal going in solo without a lawyer?
     
  2. I have only ever seen mention of the German view of things, i.e. strategies of how to get Germany to accept an American's request for dual citizenship. But what about the US side, does one not need to get US approval as well to additionally obtain German citizenship, and if so, is that a whole separate ordeal? Or is the US side not involved at all?

 

(Question 2 could be answered by anyone, I suppose)

 

Thank you again, I've been struggling with this topic for quite a while.

 

 

 

I was initially rejected by refusing to give up my USA citizenship. At that stage, there wasn't too much to do other than submitting my requested paperwork. For the appeal, yes,  I put my case together myself. This stage of the process was done not in person per se, but by compiling my arguments into a neat package with my legal arguments. I did hire someone to clean up any mistakes in my German Rechtsschreibung so my German was more perfect than normal. And as I previously said, no lawyer wanted to help.

I am a former Union representative, and have some experience in the USA with filing various ULP's, and other labor-management items with the US Government, and my arguments filled over a dozen pages with attached supporting documents. My arguments were fairly solid but not 100% where I could point to a specific paragraph in the law and say I must be approved.

 

I may have just had the right person look at my case and decide to approve it. 

 

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Update on the application for dual U.S./German citizenship.

 

Today I received a letter stating that my Zertifikat B1 was not considered acceptable. 

 

It was a TELC B1 taken at a certified TELC private language school in Germany, in a different Kreis as I now live in, about nine years back and I had perfect scores. However, my Kreis is saying the B1 Zertifikat doesn't qualify because it doesn't come from the Association of Langauge Testers in Europe (ALTE). This sounds a little odd to me. At the interview in my current Kreis, the Beamter only required my B1 Zertifikat. There was no mention of TELC or Goethe or now ALTE nor where the test was taken being of any significance. 

 

Along with the letter came a list of local Kreis places to take the B1 test again. VHS, IB, and some private langauge school. 

 

Anyone have any experience with this? What is the difference between a TELC B1 Zertifikat and one that is ALTE? Does location of where you take and pass the test actually matter or are they splitting hairs?

 

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Maybe your 9 yr old certificate pre-dates the ALTE system, so although it is TELC, it is not within the framework now in place. Which is basically splitting hairs, given that you have lived here ages and hold down a job which requires communication with the natives....

 

Having said that, my impression from reading endless threads is that the individual you see has you over a barrel.

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I called the langauge school where I took the B1 TELC and was told that a TELC test is only valid for three years after it's taken. That would definately make my old test invalid. Going to double check this with the VHS where I took my Einbürgerungs test this year though, just to have a more official answer.

 

A kind of strange sidelight is that my old langauge school no longer offers the B1 TELC, though they are TELC cerified. Their focus has shifted to B2 and above TELC prep and exams. Perhaps the Beamter gave them a call, heard the school doesn't offer B1 TELC tests and assumed my old test was a fake. I do have notarized proof that I attended the school and when and what book we used etc. though, again, if the test is only valid three years, presenting the Beamter with that extra info might not really spare me taking the B1 test again. Pesch.

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9 minutes ago, cybil said:

I called the langauge school where I took the B1 TELC and was told that a TELC test is only valid for three years after it's taken. That would definately make my old test invalid. Going to double check this with the VHS where I took my Einbürgerungs test this year though, just to have a more official answer.

 

A kind of strange sidelight is that my old langauge school no longer offers the B1 TELC, though they are TELC cerified. Their focus has shifted to B2 and above TELC prep and exams. Perhaps the Beamter gave them a call, heard the school doesn't offer B1 TELC tests and assumed my old test was a fake. I do have notarized proof that I attended the school and when and what book we used etc. though, again, if the test is only valid three years, presenting the Beamter with that extra info might not really spare me taking the B1 test again. Pesch.

 

Again, telc's own website says the certificates are valid for an unlimited time. Please call them directly.

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The story continues. When I turned in my B1 Zertifikat at my Rathaus a few months back, my B1 Zertifikat (TELC) was considered acceptable. Today The VHS for my Kreis said ALTE is indeed 'alt' and of a lower value than the internationally recognized TELC Zertifikat. The VHS Language and Prüfungszentrum lady also said the TELC test is good forever. She was really kind and even asked the name and number of the Beamter at my Kreis Landrat who had written me the letter with the following words in it:

 

'Das Zertifikat B1, da das von Ihnen vorgelegte Sprachzertifikat nicht den Anforderungen nach Association of Language Testers in Europe (ALTE) entspricht. Wo Sie das Zertifikat B1 ablegen können, entnehmen Sie bitte der beigefügten Liste' ...a list of language schools, including the VHS I called, all in my Kreis. 

 

She is calling the Beamter herself because, as she put it, the Beamter seems misinformed about the value and longevity of the TELC Zertifikat. How nice to have someone on my side! I hope this will lead to hearing I don't need to take the B1 Zertifikat test (TELC) again. The VHS lady added she'd never heard of this type of requirement coming out of the Landrat in our Kreis and wanted all the more to be informed about what was going on there. Me too! I hope I get some positive news back soon.

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@cybil Considering that Berlitz is a member of ALTE, I tend to agree with her assessment. More importantly, I hope she helps your Beamter see the light on that certificate. 

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@AlexTrand now I must see the light, foolish as I now feel. The B1 test I took did give me a certificate but it wasn't an official telc one. I looked at it and nowhere does it say 'telc.' Though the format of the test was the same as the telc example on their website. So went back and enquired at my old langauge school and they confirmed that it wasn't an official telc exam and that I need to take the real telc test. So that's what I'm going to do at one of the local VHS. Looks like the next tests are in autumn so I have time to buy a study book again and brush up a bit! 

 

Hopefully no one else has a bogus B1 Zertifikat. It was a shock to find I had one and also to realize I now have to take the time and spend the cash (110 Euros) to go take a similar test again. But that's life. 

 

 

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